Koi Ponds in Landscape Design

Ever notice how you feel looking into a Koi pond – even a photo of one? Instant tranquility, a sigh, a calming happens. . . Perhaps it’s the lazy pond water . . . the languid Koi fish. It manifests a moment of peace, a stall in our otherwise hectic existence.


Don’t Be Koi

The term “Koi” is derived from a Japanese word “nishikigoi”, which literally means brocaded carp. Back in the day, in Japan and China, rice farmers sustained themselves during winter with the gray, protein-rich carp. Around the 18th century, these farmers observed mutations (consisting of red and white blotches on the scales) of the carp and began breeding them to show in Tokyo, where people viewed them as “living jewels.” In the 19th century, breeders from all over the world started coming up with new and different Koi varieties. And now, ornamental varieties of common carp are used for decorative purposes in outside water gardens and Koi ponds. Ten minutes ago I happened upon this photo – it was so gorgeous, I felt all the above feelings in a glance. Thus, this blog on Koi ponds. They exude grace and elegance in nature and are an exceptional addition to landscape design.

Koi are highly social and are ideal for water gardens or backyard ponds. They are playful, hardy, and beautiful. When selecting your Koi, make sure to pick those that are active and friendly. They have individual personalities and traits and some Koi varieties can have a life span as long as humans. Koi will eat a wide variety of nutritionally balanced foods, including peas, lettuce, and watermelon. Koi will recognize the persons feeding them and gather around them at feeding times. In fact, they can be trained to take food from one’s hand. In the winter, their digestive systems slow nearly to a halt, and they eat very little. Their appetites will not come back until the water becomes warm in the spring.

Keeping Koi in a well-maintained environment is also important to ensure they remain healthy, alive and playful. Adding plant life helps improve pond life for them, as well as add beauty to the pond environment. Select complementary aquatic plants that will harmoniously co-exist with Koi. Careful, make sure to plant vegetation that will not be eaten by the Koi fish!

Aquatic plants help increase oxygen production in the water, helping to keep the pond properly aerated for Koi. Their presence also helps keep the water cool by providing shade and prevents the spread of algae. When deciding on which aquatic plants to put in your pond there are three main categories: floating plants, shallow water marsh plants and submerged plants. A bit of research will have you selecting those you like best for their aesthetic beauty for both pond and landscape.

Koi ponds come in varying shapes and sizes. Shown here are two with waterfalls running into them. Below, a landscape by a rivers edge with a Koi pond as the focal point. If you are contemplating a water feature in an upcoming landscape design plan, you may want to consider a Koi Pond. See this link for “Top 15 reasons to have Koi and a Koi pond”: http://koi-care.com/top-15-reasons-koi-koi-pond/


Peace & Prosperity

This happy homeowner and his family are big Koi fans. There was no question about adding a Koi pond in their landscape renovation and you can see what a spectacular environment they’ve created for these amiable fish! For others, having a koi pond in a backyard landscape design is more of a ‘fun and relaxing’ thing to do. Regardless of the basic purpose, nothing can beat the charm and beauty of having a Koi pond on one’s property.

Kim Thibodeau, Exterior Design

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